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It isn't usually the case that people are training incorrectly to achieve their goal. Usually it is a matter of how consistently they are training with 100 percent effort and motivation. A day off here and there is great, encouraged in fact, but two days off can become a week which can become a month which can become a year, even. The thing with fitness is that when you return after a long lay off, you aren't back where you left off, you're way behind. So here are 10 rules I live by to ensure my efforts are sustained.
1. Get up as soon as you wake up.
It's so easy to hit snooze or lay in bed for an extra hour or so but you're only wasting time out of your day and starting the day off with a non productive mindset. You might have more pressing commitments to attend to before you even consider working out but you've just wasted a chunk of time doing nothing so now you're running behind which more often than not results in another missed day at the gym and/or a meal skipped or a quick fix made up instead of the meal you intended to have.
2. Make your bed.
Following on from rule 1, making your bed is the first act of productivity in your day and so starts you off in a good direction and leads you on to further productivity. Plus once the bed is made you are almost 99 percent less likely to get back in to it and so get on with the day.
3. Do something active within the first two hours of getting up.
You don't necessarily need to go to the gym just yet but try to do something that gets you moving a little. Clean a room or two, go for a walk (perhaps you have a dog), just move. You've just spent a significant amount of time asleep and sedentary so this will wake you up a little more and prevent you feeling sluggish.
4. Eat something and have a glass of water first thing.
You've not fuelled your body in hours and you have just woken up so your metabolism is at its slowest. You need to get it firing. Even if it's too early for breakfast just yet, eat something small. One of the most common reasons people cannot shift body fat is because they skip breakfast and go straight for the caffeine first thing. Caffeine is a diuretic (makes you need the toilet) and so further dehydrates us and can cause us to feel more sluggish which leads to more caffeine which, as you can imagine, doesn't make us feel too great about going to the gym.
5. Take rest days when you NEED rest days.
This one is controversial but in my humble opinion if you get up one day and feel great and could just quite easily get a workout done then that's exactly what you should do. Don't schedule rest days. Just take them when you really aren't physically at 100 percent. Maybe you're aching or just feeling truly exhausted and need some recovery time... this is the time to take a rest day. Your body is telling you to rest.
6. Have a structured program or a personal trainer.
You might consistently get yourself to the gym and get the workout done and put in 100 percent every time, but without a structured progressive plan you will only consistently remain the exact same. Whether it is increasing the reps each time or increasing the weight you use or furthering the distance you go and cutting the time you take, you NEED progress. The body adapts to the training we do in order to protect itself from harm. It will, however, only adapt as much as is necessary, so we must continue to push ourselves further and further on a consistent basis to force regular changes that equate towards our goal. If you cannot do this for yourself, then a personal trainer would massively benefit you.
7. Don't try to be 'healthy' 100 percent of the time.
It just isn't a sustainable way to live. Without the odd cheat meal or small treat you will just eventually give in and end up having a cheat day or week and undo loads of work. Stick to the 80/20 rule (80 percent clean and 20 percent "dirty") and you won't go far wrong.
8. Have a "why" and focus on it.
What is your reason for going to the gym? Without reason there can be no goal and it becomes all too easy to convince ourselves that it's fine to have a week off 'cause you weren't going for anything in particular anyway. A goal gives you accountability because you should be making progress towards it and it motivates you take action.
9. Don't compare yourself with others.
This has to be one of the most counterproductive and demotivating things people do. It is inevitable that we will have a person that we aspire to be like, so why is it that we consistently compare ourselves against them when they are clearly further ahead of us? Focus on your own achievements and use theirs to motivate you. Don't focus on their achievements and tell yourself you aren't good enough.
10. Accept that you will never be exactly how you want.
There will never come a day that you will look in the mirror and say, "I've made it, I can stop now." As we improve we seek more improvement and set new goals and develop new motives. You will reach goals and feel satisfaction along the way but they will always leave you wanting more.